Childhood & Early Life
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, which at that time was a British Colony, where he attended the Christian Brothers College, a boy’s high school.
He earned a Ph.D. in law from the University of Edinburgh, after which he started working as a teacher at the Queen's University, Belfast. Here, he won a literary competition in the children’s books category.
In 1981, he went to Southern Africa to teach law at The University of Botswana. During his tenure there, he co-wrote the book, ‘The Criminal Law of Botswana’.
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In 1984, he published children’s book titled, ‘The Perfect Hamburger and Other Delicious Stories’, which was a collection of three stories, ‘The Perfect Hamburger’, ‘The Spaghetti Tangle’ and ‘The Doughnut Ring’.
In 1991, ‘Children of Wax: African Folk Tales’, a collection of a series of 27 short stories was published. It was inspired from the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.
In 1997, he came out with the short comic novel titled, ‘Portuguese Irregular Verbs’, which is a part of his ‘Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment’ series of books. This novel had eight chapters.
Published in 1999, ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’, the first of his series of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, was based on the murder of a 14 year old girl in Mochudi, Botswana.
In 2000, he published the second instalment of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled ‘Tears of the Giraffe’. The novel’s main protagonist detective ‘Mma Precious Ramotswe’ investigates a paternity case and the case of an American woman’s missing son.
In 2001, he published the third book of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled, ‘Morality for Beautiful Girls’. The plot revolves around mysterious orphans and ‘Mma Precious Ramotswes’ laid back fianc�.
In 2002, he came out with ‘The Kalahari Typing School for Men’, which is the fourth book of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series. The novel deals with ‘The Molefelo Case’ and ‘The Selelipeng Case’.
Published in 2003, ‘The Full Cupboard of Life’ is the fifth of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, which won the Saga Award for ‘wit’. In this novel, Mma Precious Ramotswe helps a wealthy woman choose a suitor.
In 2004, he published the first novel of his ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series, titled ‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’. The book received mixed reviews from book critics.
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In 2004, he also published, ‘In the Company of Cheerful Ladies’, which was the sixth novel from the ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series. The plot revolves around a married ‘Mma Precious Ramotswe’ and her husband who are troubled from past shadows.
In 2005, he came out with the novel, ‘Friends, Lovers, Chocolate’, which was the second book in the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series. The book did not receive good reviews and was criticised for its slow pace.
In 2006, he published the third of the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series of novels, ‘The Right Attitude to Rain’, which received positive reviews. His seventh installment from ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, ‘Blue Shoes and Happiness’ was also released the same year.
In 2007, he published his eighth of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series novel, ‘The Good Husband of Zebra Drive’ and also published the fourth book of the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series of novels - ‘The Careful Use of Compliments’.
In 2009, he published his first online novel titled, ‘Corduroy Mansions’. This online edition enabled readers to interact with each other and the author.
His upcoming book, from ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled ‘The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon’ will be published in 2013.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1982, he married Elizabeth Parry, a physician, and the couple have two daughters - Lucy and Emily. They live together in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He also enjoys playing the bassoon, a musical instrument, and is the co-founder of ‘The Really Terrible Orchestra’, a British amateur orchestra group.